Don’t yell at me! I own Carlos Santana and I know how awful he’s been! It makes sense that his name is Carlos Santana, because Carlos Santana looks like Edward James Olmos and the acne scars Olmos has are how deep Carlos Santana’s scarred my fantasy soul. Sometimes I wake at night in a cold sweat, frightened that Carlos Santana has found his way on all of my fantasy teams, only to realize it’s just a dream and I haven’t been sweating. Instead, I peed myself, so I fall back to sleep soundly. So, with that uplifting lead-in to this Buy, what do you sell to get Santana? A herpes blister and hope for a dead cat bounce? Yes, that would seem to be the case. Okay, enough hubbub on the tomfoolery, do I really want you to buy Santana? Yeah, I do. Let’s look at his 1st half vs. 2nd half last year. 1st half: 14 HRs, 37 RBIs, .207 average, 45.8% ground ball rate, and death threats for what he did to fantasy teams. The 2nd half last year: 13 HRs, 48 RBIs, .260 average in 16 less games than the 1st half. His ground balls went way down (not literally!) to 34.2% and his fly balls shot up (literally!). His hard contact went up, his Ks went down, his everything went up. Some thought that his 2nd half last year was a sign he was going to break out in April this year. Yeah, that didn’t happen, but he’s not old and I can’t imagine he’s going to stay this bad all year. This year’s 1st half of 9 HRs, .211, 44.8% GB rate isn’t the end of an era, but maybe about to be the end of his error. Pithy points! Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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The ESPYS are coming soon, so I decided it might be time to nominate some relief pitchers for mid-season hardware and steal a little bit of ESPN’s ESPYS thunder (that’s just wrong on more than one level) in the process.  Anyway, I’ll soon be handing an award to one of the relief pitchers with a chance to regress in a bad way and I’m calling these awards the Jurrjy’s because Jair Jurrjens was a pitcher that was as up and down as I can recall a pitcher being.  He was (is, I could say, after all he still exists, somewhere) a BABIP dependent* pitcher because of a low strikeout rate.  For instance, here are his 2011 1st half/2nd half  ERA splits: 1.87 in 110.2 1st half innings vs 5.88 in a small sample of 41.1 second half innings.  While it might have been better to pick a reliever to name this after, I can’t think of anyone that fits the description better than Jair Jurrjens.  The only problem is, I’m not sure if the “winner” is the one whose ERA regresses the most or the one who maintains the mirage.  I guess that’s up to the Academy to decide.  So without further ado, your 2015 Jurrjy nominees in the “rising ERA” category are:  Steve Delabar, middle reliever, Toronto Blue Jays (1.42 ERA /4.05 FIP).  Bryan Shaw, middle reliever, Cleveland Indians (2.10 ERA /4.62 FIP).  Joakim Soria, closer, Detroit Tigers (2.73 ERA /5.09 FIP).  Brad Ziegler, closer, Arizona Diamondbacks (1.45 ERA /3.78 FIP), Darren O’Day, middle reliever, Baltimore Orioles (1.21 ERA /3.17 FIP), and JJ Hoover, middle reliever, Cincinnati Reds (1.31 ERA / 3.10 FIP).  (*This article basically claims that pitcher BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) is 75% luck, 13% defense, and 12% pitcher’s skill).

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Miguel Sano in the braino! When Sano, got no braino! Oh, sorry, I didn’t hear you come in. Have a seat. Why aren’t you wearing pants? Okay, enough small talk! All right, one more bit of small talk. You ever go to Whole Foods and get something from their salad bar? Their cardboard containers suck! Unless you rip the container apart and lick the bottom, there’s no way to get everything out. Fine, maybe those few grains of quinoa are nothing, but at Whole Foods they cost, like, forty-five cents! Make a container where I don’t lose half my lunch because it gets stuck to the bottom of your stupid containers! Next time, I’m asking for a refund for the piece of lettuce that I can’t get out. No, I’m not cheap at all. Any the hoo! Miguel Sano! Right? Or right-right? Or right-right-right? Here’s what Prospect Mike said, “Sano has elite power with the potential for 35-40 homers at the major league level. He’s right there with fellow third base prospects Kris Bryant and Joey Gallo in that department. Sano most likely won’t hit for a high average, but his fantasy owners won’t mind if he’s launching 30+ bombs. I’d expect him to start the year in the upper minors with a mid or late season call-up a possibility. I like him almost as much as I hate Grey.” What’s with the hostility? PM, of course, is right. Sano has huge power upside. He already has 13 homers in only 61 games in Double-A and Paul Molitor has said, “We’re calling him up soon, and how about that hitting streak of mine? Huh?!” Okay, not exact words, but close. Buxton was already called up, and Sano is next. Like my face after a sun shower, now is a beautiful time for a stash. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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For one day, let’s put our troubles away and bask in Nolan Arenado. No, I want you to shove your troubles further under the rug than they usually are. Here, give me your high school depantsing, the girl that dumped you the day before prom, you walking in on your mother and the mechanic and all your other emotional scars and lift the rug, I’ll slide them under. There. *wipes hands* Now, you are unencumbered to enjoy The Torenado. He hit two homers yesterday to bring his total to 19, and he’s hitting .287 with a .271 BABIP. Yes, he’s actually been unlucky. You can likely tell from the ends of my mustache turning upwards, but he should actually be better. He’s on pace for a 35-homer, .290 season with ease! Again, with some stank — EASE! Help me, Auntie Em, it’s a Torenado and my house is spinning and my Yorkie is barking and I’m landing on a person. Oh, shucks, I landed on Pablo Sandoval. If you followed my rankings, and drafted Arenado. You’re welcome. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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This is the Saves Ain’t Got No Face “eff the team managers” edition which will give me a chance to both vent and try to deflect blame for bad calls I’ve made.  Joe Maddon of the Cubs decided to go a different route on his closer situation by removing Hector Rondon from the role.  For like three days.  And I make the call that Pedro Strop had a good chance to take over as closer.  Eff Joe Maddon.  Then in Tampa (Joe Maddon’s old team.. coincidence??) the following sequence happened:  1. Brad Boxberger gets dinged, Kevin Jepsen becomes the interim closer, (arguably) leapfrogging Jake McGee in the process.  2. Boxberger came back, blew a save.  3. Jake McGee (seemingly) takes over as closer.  4. Kevin Jepsen notches a (random) save.  5. Brad Boxberger (seemingly) regains closer role.  As of Sunday, the last 15/30 days for Rays Saves is 2/4 for Jepsen, 3/3 for McGee, 3/6 for Boxberger.  Last week I claimed Jake McGee was the new closer.  He gets zero save attempts this week.  Keep reading folks because this is really just the beginning of the latest twist and turns which will leave you wanting to pull out your hair.  (Plus recommendations to follow…)

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I’m a value oriented fantasy manager.  I’m not a believer in positional scarcity and I take that approach (aka meritocracy) to my draft by relying largely on projections.  When evaluating my slumping players I look at their projections and peripherals to see if the slump means anything.  When looking at the hot players in the player pool I take the same approach.  I am going to make recommendations to you based on these approaches.  For the next in line closers it means recommending players with good projections but also considering each players chance to close in the future.  For base stealers it means making sure the player won’t destroy your AVG or at least letting you know if he’s going to.

This week in SAGNOF (Saves Ain’t Got No Face) Recap: Early last week Adam Ottavino ascended into the closer role for Colorado and it looks at the very least to be semi-permanent.  He was previously my 7th best next in line closer to own.  Formerly my 2nd best next in line closer to own, Joakim Soria had ascended due to an injury to Joe Nathan, who should be back soon and will regain his closer role.  Jordan Walden notched a save last night but it appears Trevor Rosenthal was being given the night off.  Now onto this week’s recommendations…

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I wish filling out your fantasy roster with middle relievers was as easy as plop-plop, fizz-fizz.  But I’m sure it isn’t, because not everyone is using the same model of success.  I can dig that, I mean, I come from a long line of Smokeys that like the art of shoveling.  Listen, I get it if you don’t wanna help your team-rates and ratios by adding guys that are stout in production for basically free at the end of your draft.  Streaming relievers is a real thing, I didn’t make it up.  It does exist, and it lives in the house between Nessy and Sasquatch.  It’s not for the faint of heart and is probably not for everyone.  It is about optimizing your free innings (very useful in RCL leagues that have games started limits, which everyone wants to win).  It’s a basic theory and the patent is pending, so stick around as I get into the art of streaming relievers. And as an added bonus, I have broken down the MR corps into four separate groups.  These groups are broken down by usefulness.  We have one for straight cuffs, one for rates and holds, a straight holds, and then some stone cold sleepers for you deep-leaguers.

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The end of the year is always fun for me when it comes to the race for holds, and the guys getting them.  The names that appear on the leaderboard for the last 14 days of games looks like a Dateline special of guys who were abandoned by their actual parents, and just appeared in the majors.  For instance, of the top-20 Hold garnerers [Jay’s Note: garnerees? garnerererers? gonorrhea? Eh, let’s just go with garnerers…] over those same last two weeks, only three are in the top-20 for the year (Clippard, Cecil and Watson).  On a side note, these are guys for you in dynasty leagues and deeper keeper leagues to pay attention to…. wink-wink.  That right there echoes the fact of something, oh I don’t know, two weeks ago, where you should just stream the hell out of RP down the stretch to maximize everything. And by everything, I mean appearance, grooming techniques, hell, it’ll probably allow you to take better pictures to update your Tinder account.  Maximize is the name, and maximizing was the game. You see that boat in the distance?… That’s me sailing off into the sunset telling you au revoir, and that I told ya so.  I don’t make this stuff up, there are years and years of stats and performance charts that are readily available on the Google machine to prove my point.  So with that tangent concluded, here is the last bullpen/hold chart of the year, basically showing you who wins. Sort of. If winning holds is an actual award, that is.

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Ah, the stretch run and the second to last Holds post of the year.  If your not streaming RP at this point to your advantage, I don’t know what else to tell you but to give me your password, and just get ready for Sunday fundays.  It’s not Sunday is it?  Because I can’t talk about it with it around, because it slowly consumes me, then beats me, steals all my money, and makes me feel like that time at the water park.  Sorry, sidetracked on terrible memories.  So Drew Storen has popped up and taken the reigns until Soriano figures out why seven ate nine.  I have heard that people are questioning why Tyler Clippard isn’t in there trying to win one for the skipper.  It’s easy, but has multiple levels to it.  First, you don’t take your best reliever out of the key spot, and that’s setting up and clinching the game for you. Rhis is documented by Clippard dominating in appearances with the lead over the last 30 days.  The second is– Storen, who will be awfully expensive next year, while pitching effective, is basically being showcased and used to keep Rafael Soriano from getting his guaranteed 15 million doll hairs next year.  You heard me: 15 million.  Which becomes guaranteed at 120 games finished, he currentlly sits at 104.  The moon landing, JFK, and keeping Rafi Soriano from getting duckets. Conspiracy theories or truth, all I can do is type it… hold on, Oliver Stone is on the phone.  Stick around for some snippets of relief pitching lore and a flashy chart made from unicorn tears…

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If there was a NBA Jam version for relievers, it would go to the Royals bullpen.  They are the hottest team since sliced pimento loaf, and as of this typing, are finding themselves tops in the AL Central.  I have said it before and I will say it again– play the hot hand until it slaps you where it shouldn’t.  They are led recently and not recently, as in all year, by Wade Davis. Davis, on the year, has been just stellar: 6-2 K rate over 13 and has allowed only 5 ER all year. That my friends is about as robust as the McRib sandwich being not not real rib meat. Over the last two weeks Davis has lead the world in Holds with 7.  His subtle sidekick has been a nice mix of Jason Frasor and Kelvin Herrera, both garnering fantasy value in their own way. Frasor notching 2 wins in relief and Herrera grabbing 4 holds for himself… both guys also have the same ERA as Davis during the last 2 weeks. It’s zero, so stop with the guesses. Ride the lightning here as the Royale’s w/o cheese are scorching the universe like a bikini waxing store. Stay tuned for more middle relief haps and slaps.

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